John Lennon Comes Back to New York City to Pay Homage to Bob Dylan by ML Liebler

He comes back​

A little pale, but no worse​

For the wear and tear of being​

Away, in another dimension,​

For some twelve odd years. Now,​

He knows everything​

Is off the record. Things have changed​

A lot and a little since he left​

In early December 1980.​

But he doesn’t think in those terms​

Anymore.  Where he’s been there is​

No time, no dates to remember, no​

Appointments to keep, no​

Memory of a past or a present​

At all.  He pauses, for to some what to some might seem​

A minute or two, on a city corner.  He thinks​

To himself that he hasn’t thought​

To himself in a long, long, time,​

And he knows there is no concern​

About measurements. No dates—no time—no years.​

These things used to cause him pain.  The future​

Is always happening for him.​

So, once again, he finds himself​

In New York City, beloved home​

Away from home.  City​

Where he has always felt​

Comfortable and safe.  If a person could see​

Him now and approach him, gently,​

And if that person were to suggest murder,​

He wouldn’t understand, nor would he​

Consider the idea.  He would swiftly dismiss​

It as quickly as waving away the vague​

Street clouds rising from city grids.​

Lennon glances up to see​

A sign, lights flashing​

Through a crowd.  He recognizes​

A building.  He thinks he has been​

There before.  He sees, but he can’t​

Be seen.  He likes that.  It fits​

His style—both, then and now.  He checks​

Around for a street name to remember​

Where he might be.  He believes​

He knows where he is.​

He smiles.  He overhears people​

Talking about Bob Dylan, and something​

Seems to be going on here, but he “Doesn’t know​

What it is.”  He chuckles to himself.  He is​

The thin man.  Everyone has come​

To pay homage, to sing songs,​

To celebrate old friends, and he too​

Wants to pay his respect because he and Bob​

Go way back to England days.  Before Dylan​

Was as he later became.  Before electric​

Guitar mania at Newport, before motorcycle nightmares,​

Before guru love, before Berkeley in the 60’s, before​

There ever was a Sgt. Pepper.  Before…He thinks​

Out like millions of dark sparrows.  Lennon is confused.​

He looks up to the ceiling and quickly to the stage.​

He notices a bald-headed woman in the spotlight.​

In an instant he realizes​

She is the one feeding these birds.  People whisper​

Something about her inappropriate behavior​

On national television.  Lennon knows all about this.​

He has made a similar gaff, several years ago.​

He hardly ever uses memory this way anymore,​

But he can’t help but recall a teen mag interview​

And a statement he made​

By mistake.  It cost him​

What the bald headed singer must pay​

For herself.  She is forced to run off​

The stage in tears.  He knows, all too well,​

That kind of pain and its hurtful consequences.​

It feels like he and Yoko​

All over again, and he hates that evil​

Feeling, but it has been a long time​

Now, an all time off the record.​

His attention is, again, diverted.​

He now finds himself again in the cheap back​

Balcony seats. He remembers Aunt Mimi, Liverpool,​

Strawberry Fields, Julia, briefly in this moment, he remembers​

The concert hall of late 1950’s Britain,​

And the best he could ever afford​

Were the cheap-cheap, faraway, backseats.  Four guys​

Seated nearby mention Eric Clapton’s names, and Lennon​


One late summer night in Toronto, Canada.  He,​

On stage with long, long hair, dark full beard​

Holding beautiful Yoko while young wired​

“Slowhand” plays Holy Rock ‘N Roll. ​

The crowd grows​

Pleasantly still and they gasp.​

Lennon sits​

Stage left; he is attentive.  He now senses loneliness​

For the first time in a long time.  He​

Suddenly realizes this is why​

He came here tonight.  There​

In a purple jacket, is a youthful long hair​

With cherished, cherub smile.  George​

Harrison.  Old dharma buddy who had made the journey​

With John from Liddypool to Hamburg to 1962​

New Year’s Decca audition​

To the “toppermost of the poppermost” to America​

To India to NYC, where Lennon’s drained blood​

Would evaporate outside​

72nd Street and Central Park West,​

To forever.  Tonight, young George is his wonderful​

Friend.  Lennon wants to tell George​

Where he has been all these years,​

But he doesn’t know​

Where to begin anymore.​

Lennon wants to climb up​

Onto the stage and sing​

In old harmony spirit, but​

Tonight is for George to repay his debt​

To Bob Dylan for coming to George’s aid​

To help an old friend from Bangladesh to​

Save his country, and Lennon stops​

To meditate on the silly reasons why he refused to show that night to honor​

His English brother’s request,​

He remembers those different times​

And those hard, different feelings​

And they are all so difficult​

To imagine anymore.  George passionately sings.​

Tonight his voice is like silk and honey​

For Lennon’s dreamy heart.  It is​

At this point that Lennon decides​

Not to visit anyone else​

Tonight.  He thinks it is best to walk away​

And to love time for what it was​

He wants to keep it all​

Framed just that way.  He is very happy​

To see George up there shining​

On and on.  He is very please and fully satisfied.​

He thinks that perhaps he might cry,​

But he knows there are no more tears,​

And, besides, nobody will ever know

That on a cool night​

Through a mid-October wind,​

John Lennon came back​

To New York City to pay​

His own kind of homage​

To Bob Dylan.


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